The "Millburn Strangler" is No More. Meet the US Route 45 Millburn Bypass!

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Lake County Transportation Updates

October 23, 2019

US Route 45 Millburn Bypass Project Nears Completion

Today, local officials gathered to celebrate the opening of the US Route 45 Millburn Bypass in north-central Lake County. This $31 million project improved Route 45 from IL 132 to IL 173 and created a bypass of the Millburn Historic District, addressing one of the most congested traffic spots in Lake County, hence its nickname “the Millburn Strangler.”

Millburn Cropped

Millburn Bypass - Intersection of US 45 and Grass Lake Road

Project Highlights

  • Grass Lake Road was realigned to the south, eliminating the existing offset “T” intersections through the Millburn Historic District.
  • A raised center median along US 45 enhances safety and provides water quality benefits, along with green space for plants and trees.
  • The bypass accommodates a bike path on the west side and sidewalks on the east side. 
  • Numerous federal, state, and local organizations worked together over a 25-year span. 

The total project cost is approximately $31 million. Phases one and two of the project were funded with County and Federal dollars, while construction of the project was funded by Lake County through the 1/4% sales tax, which is solely dedicated to transportation projects. The bypass is among many large transportation projects set to improve traffic flow and safety in Lake County. In fact, Lake County will be investing more than $500 million in transportation improvements over the next six years. 

Millburn Bypass - Aerial

Millburn Bypass - 25 Years in the Making

Not only is this huge project coming to an end, but it also signifies the completion of more than 25 years of discussion, planning, and finally, construction of a realignment to drastically improve traffic flow in the area. Projects of this scale can take a number of years to complete, as funding must be secured, numerous stakeholders are involved, and a plan of the work to be done needs to be decided on. Eighteen different plan options were considered for this project. 

Mid-1990s: IDOT studies US Route 45 Bypass as part of a Strategic Regional Arterial (SRA) study.

1994: Lake County Board passes a resolution in support of a US Route 45 Bypass near the
Millburn Historic District.

2006: Lake County and State leaders, with public input, create a State Highway Consensus Plan. The realignment of US 45 was at the top of the list of priorities.

2008: Phase I — Preliminary engineering and environmental studies begin.

2009-2013: A four-year public involvement process is undertaken with coordination from local, state and federal agencies.

2013: A bypass to realign Route 45 is chosen from 18 potential options for the project.

2013 - 2017: Phase II — Design engineering, funding considerations, land acquisition and more.

2017: Phase III — Construction begins.

Sept. 2019: The bypass to realign US Route 45 in the Millburn Historic District is complete and open to the public.

2019 - 2020: Final pavement of surrounding streets and completion of final punchlist items, which includes landscaping. 

Millburn Bypass Group Shot

Photo from the US Route 45 Millburn Bypass Opening Celebration on Oct. 23, 2019